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The Childcare Offer for 3 to 4 year olds

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Childcare Offer for Wales helpline

Telephone: 03000 628628

Rydym yn croesawu galwadau yn Gymraeg / We welcome calls in Welsh.Childcare Offer Logo 2024


The helpline is open: 

  • Monday to Thursday 9am to 5pm
  • Friday 9am to 4:30pm

Applications currently open

As of 19 June 2024, parents/carers can submit applications for children born between 1 April 2021 and 31 August 2021. Childcare funding can then start from 2 September 2024.


Applications open 75 days prior to the start of term. You can find further detail regarding the dates applicable to your child under the 'Who can Apply?' tab.


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  • What is the Childcare Offer?

    The Childcare Offer funds nursery education and childcare for 3 to 4 year olds, before they start full-time education. In the Vale of Glamorgan, it is made up of:

    Nursery Education 

    12.5 hours per week in a school nursery.

    You need to apply through the School Admissions Team for your school nursery place. 

    For more information and your application, please click here to be redirected to: Nursery Admissions



    Childcare Offer Funding

    17.5 hours per week of funding at a registered childcare provider in term time.

    Up to 30 hours per week of funding at a childcare provider in the school holidays, for three weeks per term (9 holiday weeks in total per year)

    A total of 48 weeks of childcare funding per year. You will need to fund any additional childcare that you need. 


    The Childcare Offer and Starting Nursery Education

    This video explains the difference between Childcare Offer funding and starting nursery education in the Vale of Glamorgan:


    Children with Additional Needs

    If your child has additional needs and you are eligible for the Childcare Offer we may be able to fund training for childcare providers, additional childcare staffing, specialist equipment, or physical adjustments to childcare provision. Please contact us on or 01446 704704 if you feel your child may need additional support. 

    You may also be interested in our Index for Children with Disabilities or Additional Needs

  • Who can Apply? 

    You can apply for the childcare funding if:

    • You live in Wales;  
    • Your child is 3 to 4 years old. Please go to the table below for eligibility dates;
    • You are a student in Higher or Further Education enrolled on a course that is 10 weeks long or more


    • You are employed or self-employed and you earn at least:
      • £183.04 per week if you are 21 years old or older
      • £137.60 per week if you are 18-20 years old

    (these rates are based on 16 hrs per week at the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage for April 2024 - March 2025 and will change annually)

    • You earn less than £100, 000 gross, per year, per parent.  If either parent earns over £100,000 gross, per year, you will be ineligible for the Childcare Offer.


    You will need to upload the following supporting documents to your application: 

    • Your child’s birth certificate; 
    • Evidence of your address, e.g. your most recent Council tax letter; 
    • Your most recent 3 months of payslips if you are employed;
    • Your most recent self-assessment tax return if you are self-employed;
    • An enrolment letter/confirmation of a place in Further or Higher education.


    You will need to upload eligibility evidence for both parents if you are a two-parent family.


    Please note:

    • The term ‘parent’ refers to parents, legal guardians, step-parents, adoptive parents, foster carers, guardians, kinship carers, carers with a Special Guardianship Order and long-term live-in partners who live within the same household as the child.  
    • Parents currently on maternity/paternity/parental/adoption leave can apply for the Childcare Offer if they meet the above eligibility criteria. 
    • In a single-parent family, the above eligibility criteria apply to the sole parent. 
    • In a two-parent family the above eligibility criteria apply to both parents. 
    • Eligibility cannot be confirmed until a fully completed application form has been received and processed by the Childcare Offer team and you have received a confirmation email.​


    Exceptions to the Eligibility Criteria: 

    • In a two-parent family where one parent meets the eligibility criteria and the other parent receives specific benefits, you could be eligible for the Childcare Offer in some circumstances. 

      This is based on the parent being in receipt of, or having an underlying entitlement to, one of the following qualifying benefits:

      • Incapacity benefit;
      • Carers allowance;
      • Carers element of Universal Credit;
      • Severe disablement allowance;
      • Long term incapacity benefit; 
      • Employment and support allowance (ESA);
      • National insurance credits on the grounds of incapacity for work or limited capability for work;
      • Universal Credit where the individual has been assessed as having limited capability for work.


    • Families where both parents are in receipt of the above benefits (or has an underlying entitlement to the above benefits), or the sole parent in a single parent family, will not be able to access the Childcare Offer.
    • Where parents have separated but do not share equal custody of the child, the parent with primary custody will be eligible to take up the Offer (if they meet the eligibility criteria).
    • Where parents share equal custody one parent will need to be nominated as the lead parent for the Offer.
    • Parents who are in education or training and have formally suspended their studies due to long term sickness could still be eligible for the Childcare Offer. 
    • Parents who are employed/self-employed but who are temporarily away from the workplace on statutory sick leave could still be eligible for the Childcare Offer.


    Childcare Funding: When is my child eligible?

    Date of birth betweenApplications open (there is no deadline)Eligible for childcare funding from Eligible for childcare funding until 
    01/09/2019 - 31/12/2019  07/11/2022 (Currently open)  09/01/2023   31/08/2024
    01/01/2020 - 31/03/2020  17/01/2023 (Currently open)  17/04/2023   31/08/2024
    01/04/2020 - 31/08/2020  19/06/2023 (Currently open)  04/09/2023   31/08/2024
    01/09/2020 - 31/12/2020  06/11/2023 (Currently open)  08/01/2024   31/08/2025
    01/01/2021 - 31/03/2021  26/02/2024 (Currently open)  08/04/2024   31/08/2025
    01/04/2021 - 31/08/2021  19/06/2024 (Currently open)  02/09/2024   31/08/2025
    01/09/2021 - 31/12/2021  November 2024  January 2025   31/08/2026
    01/01/2022 - 31/03/2022  February 2025  April 2025   31/08/2026
    01/04/2022 - 31/08/2022  June 2025  September 2025   31/08/2026

    There is no deadline for applications, but funding cannot be backdated.

  • How to Apply? 

    1. Check your eligibility

    Check your eligibility online. Please note, the eligibility checker is a guide only.

    2. Apply

    Apply online. To apply online you will need:

    • Your child's birth certificate

    • Proof of address

    • Proof of household income or enrolment on a higher or further education course

    3. Select childcare setting and agree hours

    Once approved, select your preferred setting online and confirm the childcare hours to be provided. Make sure you've discussed availability with the childcare setting before confirming online.


    Please follow the link below to apply and please note there are several Welsh Government support tools which could help you with completing your application, should you need it: 


    Do you need to find local Childcare? 

    If you are looking for available childcare, you can visit the Childcare Information Wales website or contact the Family Information Service to discuss your requirements:

    If you need any further help with your Childcare Offer application and/or childcare search, please contact the Vale's Childcare Offer representatives on:  

    • 01446 704704
  • Information for Childcare Providers 

    Parents of children born between 01/09/2019 - 31/12/2019 will use the new digital application in November. Funding will start in January 2023.


    If you haven’t registered already for the new Childcare Offer digital system, please register below. This link will take you to the Government Gateway login page where you can begin the registration journey. You can find more information on creating your Government Gateway account, as well as what to do next if you already have one, here:


    For more information on how to register for delivering the Childcare Offer via the National Digital Service, please follow this link:

    Please note:

    • Children currently receiving the Childcare Offer will continue on the existing system of invoices and attendance until they are no longer eligible for the Childcare Offer (the end of August 2023 for most children already receiving the Offer).
    • All children who start receiving the Childcare Offer from January 2023 and onwards will use the new system

  • Frequently Asked Questions 

    Will I have to pay for anything?

    The Childcare Offer funds a maximum of 30 hours of early education and childcare per week. The funding from the government is for the education and care the professionals within the setting provide. It does not include food, transport or off-site activities that incur an extra charge and providers will be able to charge you for these.

    Reminder: The Childcare Offer funds a maximum of 48 out of 52 weeks of the year and parents will be liable for any childcare used during the unpaid weeks. These will always be school holiday weeks

    Can I use more than one childcare provider?

    Yes, you can use up to TWO registered childcare settings per day in addition to your Nursery Education setting in any given day.


    During the holiday period a child may therefore access a maximum of two registered settings under the offer.


    How much childcare funding can I use during school holidays?

    Children will be allocated 3 weeks of holiday provision per term. 

    • If a parent was eligible for 1 term - 3 weeks holiday provision;
    • If a parent was eligible for 2 terms - 6 weeks holiday provision;
    • If a parent was eligible for 3 terms - 9 weeks holiday provision;
    • If a parent was eligible for 4 terms – 12 weeks holiday provision;
    • If a parent was eligible for 5 terms – 15 weeks holiday provision.


    Unused weeks from each term can be rolled into the next term including into a new academic year.


    Holiday weeks cannot be used before they have been accrued.

    Can I accrue my hours?

    No. Parents will be provided with a total of 30 hours a week of combined Nursery Education provision and childcare with parents choosing how much of the 30 hours to use. Any hours not used in a week will be lost.


    Any unused holiday weeks can be carried over and used in the next term, provided they are still eligible to receive the Offer.


    What if my employment circumstances change?

    Families may at times fall out of eligibility for the Offer if for example one or both parents lose their job or their hours are reduced below the minimum requirement. In order to provide stability for both children and childcare providers, and to give parents the opportunity to become eligible again, those families who fall out of eligibility will still be able to access the offer for a limited amount of time (8 weeks temporary exemption period).


    It is the parent’s responsibility to inform both the Local Authority and the provider if their circumstances change.


    Do I have to access Nursery Education to get the childcare funding?

    No. You can still access the 17.5 hours per week of childcare funding in term time if you choose not to take up the 12.5 hours per week of nursery education funding. 

    However, childcare hours funded through the Childcare Offer do not increase if you do not take up your nursery education place.

  • Further information and contact details